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LEO VARADKAR HAD a busy day yesterday, what with gifting socks to the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while also getting in some hurling and a run in Phoenix Park.

But there are still a raft of issues for him to deal with.

Today he was questioned about bin charges, insurance costs and the recent raid on insurance companies, and the delay in SNA allocations.

Micheál Martin is talking about the raid on insurance companies yesterday, stating that people around the country thought “about time” when they heard the news.

He says there has been platitudes and no action from those in government as car insurance prices skyrocketed.

Martin said it has taken Europe to shine a light on the issue.

Varadkar says he does not want to comment too much on the issue as the investigation is live. He says the rise in the cost in insurance is impacting on a lot of people.

He said a lot of action has been taken, unlike what Martin believes.

He mentions a report by Minister Eoghan Murphy, which he says is being implemented, such as changes in the Book of Quantum (which was brought into law last week).

The Taoiseach reads out a statement from the European Commission which confirms that raid on the companies yesterday, for fear they were in engaged in anti-competitive practices, and were operating against “anti-trust” laws which “prohibits cartels”

The statement read out states that just because there was a raid that does not infer that the companies were engaged in anything unlawful.

There is no legal deadline to complete the investigation.

Martin says it has taken Europe to finally take action, pointing out that there has been an unacceptable rip-off of consumers.

Mary Lou McDonald is talking about the delay in allocating Special Needs Assistants to children. She points out, as Thomas Byrne did yesterday, that they are a month behind in filling the spots.

She says this is unacceptable and is unfair on the families.

She said families do not know if they are getting an SNA and with the schools out for summer, there is nothing being done, and no certainty.

On the other side, there are the SNA workers, who McDonald says they do not have job certainty and do not know if they have a job come September.

She reads out a letter from one SNA:

How is this fair on SNAs, we deserve respect… every year it is the same old story… I am a parent of two children, I have a mortgage.

Varadkar says that everyone needs certainty and there are more SNAs than there are gardaí.

The Taoiseach says this was discussed in Cabinet this morning and two decisions were made.

There will be an extra 975 SNAs allocated for September, and Minister Bruton will be detailing that in next day or two.

The second decision was that government would not do this again. “We aren’t going to have this process again”, said Varadkar, adding that the decision is made relatively late in the year every year.

People should not have to wait until July to find out what they will get in September.

Varadkar agrees with McDonald to say that the need is great.

But he says the decision will now be made in the normal yearly estimates, which is done in October, which will mean people will know a lot sooner.

Howlin says Varadkar’s socks and jogging may have captured the headlines, but the big issue was the discussions around the CETA Agreement.

He says there are concerns about large corporations being able to challenge government decisions behind closed doors.

Howlin says it is not transparent enough. He points out that this country has suffered from light-touch regulation, so we have more reasons than most to have questions about companies challenging Ireland’s regulations.

The Taoiseach says the ratification of CETA will require a motion and a full debate in the Dáil, though there is no date set for that yet.

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You are in the House, says the Ceann Comhairle, who has asked him to remove his bag of rubbish.

Ryan holds up all the plastics that was in his bin.

“That is not allowed,” says the Ceann Comhairle, who tried to shut it down. He says advertisements are not allowed in the chamber.

“I don’t think you should be acting in that fashion,” he adds.

“We are drowning rubbish,” says Ryan.

Martin is back up and talking about The Irish Times story today that Simon Coveney put pressure on a pilot to fly to Cork during fog back in 2015.

I don’t think safety should be compromised, he says.

He says professional judgement should be compromised and asks if minister has apologised.

“When it comes to aviation safety must come first,” says the Taoiseach.

“As far as we are concerned safety always comes first and it is always the pilot’s decision to fly, not the passenger,” he adds.

He says he does not think it is correct to characterise Coveney’s behaviour as “being intimidatory”.

“I don’t think that was his intention… it was just to ask a question… there is no suggestion that Minister Coveney or any minister would try and second guess the judgement of a pilot.”

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